During the past three years it has been my task and privilege to act as an assessor for The British Journal of Psychiatry. In this time I have assessed, and in some cases reassessed, over 30 papers. Having looked back on my comments on these papers a number of common criticisms emerge. I thought intending contributors to the Journal might find it helpful if I commented upon some of these. I hope I do so with a sense of humility, since it is always easy to criticise the work of others and appear to be patronising. However, I have the impression that if intending authors paid heed to some of my suggestions (which are certainly not original) they would save themselves a great deal of disappointment and save the assessors and the Editors of the Journal a degree of frustration and occasional irritation.
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